In every generation, Christian fathers are called to protect their children from being shaped by the ungodly parts of the culture that seek to squeeze them into its mold, while at the same time, equipping their children to show Christ and his light to the world around them. In 2016, the subject of gender identity, gender roles, and sexual orientation are on nearly every teen’s front burner—and I don’t believe most dads are giving them the guidance they need.
Here are 5 tips to help our teens think biblically about gender confusion without becoming anti-gay.
A. Equip them to respond to the argument that homosexuals are “born gay.”
- This common starting point for thinking about homosexuality is not rooted in fact.
- According to an American Psychiatric Association paper written in 2013, “the causes of sexual orientation (whether homosexual or heterosexual) are not known at this time.” (Kevin DeYoung, What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality, p 110.)
- According to the American Psychological Association, “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor, or factors.” (Ibid, p 110.)
- The fact is that genetic science shows the opposite. If homosexuality were genetic, one hundred percent of identical twins would always have the same sexual orientation. However, the concordance rate (likelihood that a gay identical twin has a twin who is also gay) is actually quite low. (Ibid, p 112)
- Consider the silliness of the argument that homosexuality is a hereditary trait. If it were hereditary, how would a gay man pass it on to the next generation, since he is having sex with a male who produces no egg to be fertilized. In other words, if it started out as hereditary, it would be eliminated from the gene pool, since gay men and women don’t reproduce children! There would be no next generation to pass it on.
B. Help them understand that among Bible-believing Christians, there is no ambiguity about the morality of homosexuality
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Lev. 18:22
“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Lev. 20:13
- These verses come from the section of God’s moral law that explains unlawful sexual relations and the punishment for such sins.
- People who do not want to obey God have been misquoting Scripture, since Satan began to do it in the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve. There is no limit to the way people will try to explain away the universal biblical condemnation of same-sex sexual relations. But among those who trust the Bible to be God’s Word, there is no dispute.
- In fact, the confusing of sexual identities is particularly offensive to God.
“A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” Deut. 22:5.
- As part of the moral law of God, this command seeks to uphold the order and distinction of God’s creation. This verse prohibits transvestite behavior, i.e. dressing and behaving like the opposite sex. To deny one’s created gender or to try to change it, as those claiming to have a transgender identity do, is to rebel against the creator who assigned them that gender identity, role, and sexual nature.
C. Help them understand that experiencing same-sex attraction does not mean that a person’s sexual identity is to be gay.
- We need to consider carefully what is condemned in Scripture.
“Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor 6:9b-11.
- Same-sex sex, like adulterous sex and pre-marital sex is wrong. Add Jesus’ teaching about lust and we can say that same-sex lust, like adulterous lust is wrong.
- But same-sex attraction is not wrong.
- A person may have same-sex attraction for a number of reasons, some of which are not wrong and are not his or her fault. (For example many homosexual men were sexually abused) But to act on that attraction is wrong.
- A person may have another-man’s-wife attraction for a number of reasons, some of which are not wrong and are not his fault. (Perhaps she is dressed seductively or comes on to him.) But to act on that attraction is wrong.
- Although there is no valid evidence that same-sex attraction is inborn, Christians must acknowledge with compassionate hearts that whatever the causes, same-sex attraction can be something that is unwanted by the one experiencing it.
- Many Christians experience same-sex attraction, but are committed to remaining celibate rather than acting on those desires. Perhaps there is a parallel with a heterosexual man who finds himself particularly attracted to a woman who is married to someone else—but does not act on his attraction.
- Living with unfulfilled sexual desire is part of the process of discipleship for all Christian men and women, even those married to the opposite sex.
- In contrast to the biblical view the culture says that if you experience same-sex attraction, your identity is to be gay. This is a lie that must be torn down in our children’s thinking.
- The Bible teaches that no such identity exists. Every human is created either male or female. He or she may desire same-sex sexual relations for a variety of reasons, none of which has anything to do with his or her sexual identity.
- To say that a man’s identity causes him to want same-sex sexual relations would be like a man saying, “My identity is to be an adulterer, so that causes me to I want other-man’s-wife sexual relations.”
- Homosexuality is like adultery and pre-marital sex in that all three are expressions of sexual brokenness that have resulted from the fall of our race.
D. Help them appreciate the glory of God’s complimentary design of male and female in Genesis 2.
- Thinking of the Genesis 2:18-25 narrative of the creation of woman and the establishment of the institution of marriage, Kevin DeYoung ponders,
Suppose God wanted to create a world in which marriage required a man and a woman. How would he arrange this world? What sort of story would be told?
Perhaps he would first make a man, and then seeing the man was all alone—make a suitable partner for him. Maybe in an expression of their equality and complementarity, God would fashion the second human being out of the first. Maybe the name of the one (woman, ishah in Hebrew) would be derived from her natural complement (man, ish in Hebrew). And in order to show the unique fittedness of the man for the woman, perhaps God would give them a command (to be fruitful and multiply) that could only be fulfilled by the coming together of the two sexes.
- The complimentary design of the human race as male and female is striking! Called to complimentary roles and given complimentary natures, Adam and Eve are to fulfill their calling to be fruitful and multiply by the joining of their complimentary bodies in sexual union. Glory be to the God who thought this up!!
- In fact, the design of male and female not only reflects the image of the triune God whose members love each other (Gen 1:26-27), the male/female sexual union is a picture of the eternal union of Christ, our bridegroom, with us, his bride.
“’Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Eph 5:31-32.
- No wonder confusing genders is an abomination to God.
E. Help them safely befriend those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender
“Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9b-11.
- The practice of same-sex sexual relations is not the unpardonable sin. This text makes it clear that the Corinthian church included those who had come out of the gay lifestyle. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all—no matter what form our sexual brokenness, idolatry, greed, dishonesty, hatred, or other sin has taken.
- But those who came from those backgrounds at Corinth had turned away from their former ways. They had repented. Those coming out of a gay lifestyle probably had to continue to live with same sex attraction, remaining celibate. It is a common mistake to think that repentance from the gay lifestyle will result in suddenly having heterosexual desire. That may happen but often doesn't.
- As 1 Corinthians 6 teaches, the church has always required repentance from a life-style of sexual immorality, of worshipping idols, of adultery, of homosexual practice, of dishonesty, of greed, of dishonesty, etc. for its members, while at the same time welcoming those outside the church to repent and believe the gospel.
- The culture blames Christianity for being intolerant of homosexual practice. However, we are not judgmental when we declare that we believe the practice of same-sex sexual relations is wrong or make repentance from such a lifestyle a requirement for membership in the church.
- But if we condemn those who practice homosexuality outside the church—then we deserve the intolerant label. We have forgotten the depth of our own utter depravity and are not behaving like Jesus, who was known as the friend of tax collectors and sinners.
- Christians ought to be the first to reach out and befriend those who are despised, rejected, or bullied by others—and homosexuals have often experienced that kind of abuse. Christians have no business saying anything that would contribute to such cruelty, but should always defend the weak, the despised, the disenfranchised.
- The mistreatment of the LGBT community today is a tremendous opportunity to show this despised sub-group of the culture the love of Christ!